8 STEPS to

Planning a Successful Patient Support Programme

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With the development of technology and the healthcare environment evolving, Patient Support Programmes (PSP’s) are receiving a much higher demand.

Patients have increasing access to more information and treatment pathways, and patient choice is critical to improving patient outcomes.

But are you putting in the right steps for your patient support programme and are you covering all areas?

Following our 20+ years experience in PSP’s, homecare and training, we have put together our 8 steps to planning a successful PSP:

The patient journey differs for each individual and every disease. To ensure success in a patient support programme (PSP) this should be the first consideration. 

For example, if a patient is invited to join a programme at diagnosis, they may require different levels of support to those who have been living with a chronic condition for a number of years.

Understanding patient behaviour and building this into their care plans can be very successful.

PSP’s not only impact the patient, but also family & friends, therefore their needs must also be considered. With the correct level of involvement, they can also support patient adherence and compliance.

Everybody’s journey is different; ensuring patient care is tailored around patient individual needs with a framework built around patient choice can lead to increased patient activation, adherence and empowerment.

2. Omni-Channel Approach

Ensure you offer multiple communication channels, as one method may not suit everyone. Methods include face to face conversations, virtual/video chat, text messaging and emails etc. You should consider the demographic and consider a combination of preferences and the level of support required to achieve the objective.

Helplines offing 24/7 support with specialist nurses and readily-available videos can be a huge benefit to both patients and customers as it enables convenience out of hours, and that extra bit of support. Patients can access this support from any location, not just at home, which supports patient choice and individualised care.

Preventing re-admission or injury is not only a huge responsibility, but also a necessity. Patient training should be tailored to an individual learning style and need, as everyone learns and understands differently.

Nurses and Clinicians should work with patients to understand their learning styles to ensure training is delivered in a patient centric way. This process should be constantly monitored, improved and evaluated to ensure that patients are safe and have appropriate levels of understanding.  

Good patient education and training will not only reduce costs of re-admission, but also reduce the number of nurse visits required and re-training. 

4. In-Depth Patient Records To Ensure Outcome Analysis

Data can come from a variety of different sources, locations, healthcare nurses etc, especially over longer periods of time. For this reason it is so important to document outcomes and patient care effectively and efficiently. A simple, centralised patient record system will help ensure information is kept in one place, and good nurse training will enable records to be detailed and compliant. Successful outcomes analysis is valuable for not only the healthcare provider to evaluate, but also for the clinicians, stakeholders and other healthcare companies involved.

Good reporting and documentation should also include the timely and compliant reporting of adverse events. It is key with all medications particularly patient support programmes that all reports relating to medications and medical devices are relayed through the correct channels to allow for instance reporting and real time information sharing. 

A clear pharmacovigilance (PV) process is required across all services involved in the PSP and a PV lead within the business is essential to ensure patient safety.

5. Clinical & Corporate Compliance - Good Governance

Each country has its own rules and regulations to be compliant. You must understand the legal frameworks in each of the countries the programme is operating in, taking into account the different disease protocols and standards of care. Good governance is best achieved through local experts in each area, as they will understand these rules and restrictions, ensuring standards and measurements are met across the programme.

Effective clinical governance ensures patient safety and quality of service. It is essential that services are regularly audited and continuous improvements are made to preserve the quality of the service and ensure patient safety by minimising risks. A lessons learned approach is effective in improving standards. Audits should also include patient satisfaction and experience. Keeping patients at the centre of what we do, we need to ensure we understand how they feel about the service they are receiving and make changes to our practice and processes based on that feedback.

6. Key Stakeholder Engagement - Multi-Disciplinary Approach For The Ideal PSP Solution

An effective PSP not only connects the patient with the right healthcare provider for them, but also the key stakeholders involved. The requirements to do this will vary depending on the programme complexity and the objectives. If you work and engage with a team with a multi-disciplinary approach, who has built up considerable data, good advice can be given for the most effective and efficient way to implement and manage that strategy.

Patient engagement can be seen as high at the start of a programme, but can decline as time passes. To maximise patient engagement, it is important that the key messages are reinforced and individual care plans are reviewed.

Clinicians also require feedback, data, and regular communication to ensure open discussions are carried out with the patient. 

7. Seamless & Safe Patient Referral Process

All PSP’s should start with a seamless and safe patient referral process, otherwise you could be falling at the first hurdle. There isn’t a single solution for this, as programmes work with what is most appropriate for the individual, however anything which promotes simplicity such as a secure portal accessed from anywhere will certainly be beneficial.

Electronic referrals provide the ability for clinicians to view, update and track the patients referral pathway at any time.

If electronic referrals are not the appropriate choice for your programme, then configurable forms and standard workflows are important to put in place, as they increase accuracy of up-to-date information and can decrease transcription errors.

8. KPI's - Measured, Reported & Reviewed

Healthcare KPIs measure how successful your PSP is. It can help you improve your service and provide you with a greater understanding of your operations. As healthcare professionals, the mission is to offer the best possible service to patients and clients, and to reduce mistakes that could become conceivably life-threatening. For this reason, KPI’s should always be at the forefront of any reporting, and should be consistently measured and reviewed. 

Tracking KPI’s will allow you to visualise areas where services can be optimised and highlight common issues that could be resolved, which in turn can boost a programme from good to outstanding.

For more information about Patient Support Programmes and the services that we offer. Please feel free to contact Lisa at lisa.green@wrenhealthcare.co.uk or call 07446 160665 .

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